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FTC to Crackdown on Greenwashing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Thursday, 14 October 2010 14:41

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is aiming to regulate companies' greenwashing practices, such as labeling and advertising products, through newly-revised Green Guides.

The revised Green Guides are meant to "caution marketers not to make blanket, general claims that a product is ‘environmentally-friendly' or ‘eco-friendly'" and "caution marketers not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval," the FTC said in an Oct. 6 press release.

General environmental claims are difficult, if not impossible to prove, according to the summary of the new Green Guides.

The summary of the FTC's Green Guides proposal lists definitions of heavily-used terms such as recyclable, degradable, compostable, ozone-friendly and non-toxic, as well as definitions of carbon offsets, and certifications and seals of approval as terms that are advised against.

Advertisers could be fined by the FTC if they make unsubstantiated green claims. Greenwashing is considered to be a major problem in marketing and advertising throughout the world.

Greenwashing is used in advertisements and on product labels to make a product or service seem environmentally-friendly when the product actually is not. Fake third-party labels are often used to make a product appear official.

The FTC has the regulatory power to fine companies for violating the Green Guides, but they do not necessarily have enough people to regulate all of the companies and advertisers that practice greenwashing.

The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes until Dec. 10.


greenwashing, green products, green marketing, green advertising, sustainability consulting, LEED, USGBC, NAHB, CHPS

Technorati Claim token PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:15

Here is my technorati claim token.


Now hopefully I technorati will enable searches for Green Apple Group Blog.



Australia To Implement Energy Efficiency Disclosures PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 11:23

Australia will start requiring landlords to disclose energy efficiency ratings for their office buildings when leasing or selling starting on Nov. 1.

The new rules will work this way: building owners will require an energy rating from the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) when leasing or selling. The NABERS rating measures energy performance on a scale of 1 to 5 stars with the median market performance currently at 2.5 stars.

The building sector accounts for 19 percent of total energy consumption in Australia and is responsible for 23 percent of green house emissions.

This change could effect foreign investors and REITS. Dexus Group (DXS.AX) has launched a programme to undertake a $40 million worth of capital work to upgrade average portfolio NABERS energy rating from 3.3 stars to 4.5 stars by 2012.

GPT's (GPT.AX) portfolio rating of NABERS Energy is 3.7 and it has committed to lift the rating to 4.5 in 2011, while other major offices REITs have similar targets.

A U.S. study showed buildings with a green rating commanded rental rates that were approximately 3 percent higher per square foot than otherwise identical buildings. A-grade and B-grade office buildings should generally be able to achieve a NABERS Energy rating of 3.5 to 4 stars by fine-tuning existing plant and systems but it could become costly if they aim for higher ratings.

The government data shows the cost of upgrade from 2 to 3 NABERS star ratings could range from A$35-A$61 per square metre.

Get Ready for GreenBuild 2010, Nov. 17-19, Chicago PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Tuesday, 12 October 2010 19:44
Check out this Exhibitor Checklist from Green Apple Group and make sure you have all the communications tools you need to reach out to the AEC Industry professionals at GreenBuild.

Trade Show Graphics:

The way you look at the show can influence how potential customers perceive how well your product works and how they will be treated by your organization. Make sure your booth graphics have a central theme and look professional, and always remember to present your product benefits.

New Product Press Release:

A trade show is a great venue for launching new products. Have press releases ready to tell the story of a new product or a new development about an existing product. Call a press conference to take advantage of the trade media editors and construction writers attending the show. Make sure to bring press releases to the news conference and your booth. Drop off an e-Press Kit that contains your public relations materials, product photography and video content in the press room. These are all important resources to writers trying to make deadlines during the show.

Display Advertising:

Most trade shows have daily publications where you can buy space to promote that exciting new product your technical department has spent all year developing. Working with a marketing agency can help your company gain getter pricing for media buys. Ads in the show dailies should have your booth number clearly marked so they create more foot traffic to your exhibit.

Green Product Literature:

With new versions of LEED coming out and a growing demand for product information by specifiers and contractors about the sustainable attributes of a product, a solid print piece showing how your product fits into a LEED project is a must. Only marketing consultants with the right credentials can develop these types of pieces as a traditional agency may be marketing lobster traps and checking accounts one day and then your building product the next. Look for agencies with LEED-APs on staff. The best will know how to assess a product for green attributes and help you promote the financial incentives available to the product's buyers all wrapped around a creative concept.

Web Site Updates:

There are many ways to use Web sites to drive traffic to your booth. Whether it's a micro-site for promoting a new product or just an update to your main site with the booth number clearly visible, visitors should be able to locate you at the show. Electronic media can be a very effective tool for creating a buzz before the exhibition opens.

Social Media:

Tweet from the show, or go "viral" before the show. Even your prospects unable to attend can learn more about your product launch on Twitter and other social media outlets. LinkedIn and Facebook also represent important new platforms to promote your product benefits or maximize branding impressions. Posting to social media platforms are no longer optional parts of an integrated marketing program.

Call Paul Nutcher, CSI CDT, at Green Apple Group for a free consultation by phone or during the trade show at 407-579-8683, or e-mail him directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Green Apple Group , LLC  has a legacy of more than 32 years of providing successful architectural marketing programs for building industry stakeholders with a specialty in sustainability consulting.

green apple group, green apple consulting, green apple consultants, green apple pr, green advertising, green marketing, sustainability, green product, LEED


What is Greenwashing? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Nutcher   
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 20:16
Greenwashing is the unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, industry, government, politician or even an non-governmental organization (non-profit) to create a pro-environmental image, sell a product or a policy, or to try and rehabilitate their standing with the public and decision makers after being embroiled in controversy, according to

Furthermore, the Federal Trade Commission regulates consumer goods making environmental claims such as recyclable, bio-degradable, among others. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates claims made by businesses selling building products to the AEC Industry. In some cases especially in states such as California, the restrictions on such term as recyclable and other environmental claims can be even stricter than federal regulations.

So greenwashing could land the offender in trouble with a federal agency or state regulators and should be avoided by following the existing standards for reporting of the sustainable attributes of building products. Companies selling building products should become familiar with the standards such as ASTM E-2129 or the relevant ISO 14000 Standards.
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